How USPAACC Helped Fanny Crystal Jewelry Survive the Pandemic: An Interview with Tony Tong, Co-Owner

Fanny Crystal Jewelry proudly serves the Brooklyn Chinatown community. The owners, Fanny and Tony Tong, are immigrants who came to the United States to pursue their American Dream. Their store offers a variety of jewelry products, including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, and has an excellent reputation in the community.

However, when the pandemic hit, Fanny Crystal Jewelry was forced to close, resulting in a loss of income. Fanny and Tony were determined to survive and continue their dream, but they needed help to achieve that goal.

Thankfully, they found assistance through the Community Navigator Pilot Program (CNPP), operated by USPAACC’s Spoke Universal Processing in New York City. The CNPP is a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) program that helps small businesses in underserved communities access grants, loans, and other assistance to emerge stronger from the pandemic.

Fanny and Tony contacted Kai Zhang from Universal Processing, who helped them receive $10,000 from the SBA’s Targeted Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program in January 2022. USPAACC and its CNPP Regional Spoke were a lifeline for Fanny Crystal Jewelry, helping them cover expenses and debts. They used the funding to pay rent, utilities, inventory, and staff, reopen their store, and serve customers again.

USPAACC recently spoke with Fanny Crystal Jewelry co-owner Tony (Wai) Tong and asked him about working with USPAACC and how the CNPP helped save their family business.

USPAACC: Hello Tony, thank you for your time today. Can you share some background about your family business, Fanny Crystal Jewelry?

Tony: Sure, I’m happy to speak with you. Our family business, Fanny Crystal Jewelry, has been operating for 21 years. We are located in Brooklyn and pridefully serve our community. We have fantastic reviews from our customers.

USPAACC: How did you learn about the Community Navigator Pilot Program (CNPP), and what motivated you to work with them?

Tony: I first learned about the CNPP from friends and other small business owners familiar with the program who had successfully obtained funding through the

SBA’s CNPP. I wanted to know more about how the CNPP could help our business.

USPAACC: What kind of assistance or support did you receive from the SBA, USPAACC, and your USPAACC Regional Spoke, Universal Processing?

Tony: When the pandemic forced us to close our store, it resulted in significant financial losses. We were eager to apply for a loan to sustain our business. The CNPP team at Universal Processing translated the EIDL loan application into Mandarin during a one-on-one consultation. This was incredibly helpful!

USPAACC: How did the CNPP help you overcome challenges posed by the pandemic?

Tony: The CNPP was instrumental in keeping our business operational following the mandatory shutdown during the pandemic. With the help of USPAACC and our CNPP team, we received $10,000 from the SBA’s EIDL Target Advance Program. The funding was highly beneficial.

USPAACC: How has CNPP been different from other small business programs you may have used?

Tony: This was the first time I applied for such a program, so while I don't have a basis for comparison, I can share that the CNPP made a massive difference for us.

USPAACC: That’s wonderful. Do you have any final thoughts you would like to share with USPAACC members and business owners who want to learn more about the CNPP?

Tony: The CNPP was a financial lifeline for our business. I encourage any business owner needing assistance to contact USPAACC and learn if the CNPP might help them the way it helped us. USPAACC’s assistance was invaluable and assisted our family business during such a challenging time.

USPAACC: Thank you, Tony, and best wishes to you and Fanny Crystal Jewelry for continued success.

Tony: You’re welcome. I want to again thank USPAACC and the CNPP for helping us through such a difficult time!

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